ABCS Staff Devotion – Cultivating a Servant’s Heart

“This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.” 1 Corinthians 4:1 

I recently read this devotion and it resonated with me, reminding me of what we do at ABCS. Each day we interact with so many people – some who already know Christ, and those who will wonder why their interactions with us are different – hopefully planting a seed in their journey to finding Christ!   

Cultivating a Servant’s Heart – by Denise Pass 

It is a humbling thing to serve others with the gifts God has given. It’s an honor to serve Christ, but if I am honest, a part of me also wants the approval of others … and when that doesn’t happen, I can feel like a failure. 

Paul and the Corinthians had to navigate those feelings too, as they served Christ. In this fourth chapter of 1 Corinthians, Paul was encouraging those in the Church to recognize their position in Christ as both servants and faithful stewards of what God has revealed (1 Corinthians 4:1). Some people in the church at Corinth looked down on Paul and judged him, but he decided what others thought about him did not matter as much as being faithful to God did (1 Corinthians 4:3). As it still is now, this was countercultural in the ancient world that emphasized reputation, honor and caring about others’ opinions. But Paul sought to live his life before an audience of One. 

In Paul’s admonition about how the Corinthian believers were to regard him and themselves, he provides us, too, with a lens through which we can understand biblical servanthood: 

  1. Serving Christ is the highest honor.

The world does not regard servanthood highly. But in God’s eyes, servants of Christ are greatly esteemed because we serve Him (Matthew 23:11). Paul said, “This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.” (1 Corinthians 4:1) We probably will not be popular for serving Christ in a world that rebels against Him, but if we are not faithful to what God has revealed to us, we are serving ourselves instead. We serve God by living out His truths, even when it involves personal sacrifice and persecution. (1 Corinthians 4:11-13) 

  1. Serving is stewardship.

We don’t own what we have been given (1 Corinthians 4:7). We are stewards, or caretakers, of God’s Word and the spiritual gifts He has given us. Stewardship essentially means we seek to serve others and glorify Him, not ourselves, with these gifts (1 Peter 4:10). We are accountable to God for how well we study and apply His Word to our lives and share it with others, not just treasuring the gospel for ourselves but speaking it and living it to multiply the Kingdom (Matthew 25:14-29). 

  1. Jesus saw servanthood as greatness.

Jesus came to serve, not to be served. He gave His life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28). Jesus showed us that a servant’s heart begins with a humble attitude (Philippians 2:7). Those who serve Christ ultimately serve the Father, who will reward them (John 12:26; 1 Corinthians 4:5). 

So, when I’m serving others and they don’t respond to me as I desire, I try to remember this: being humbled is a reminder to serve in humility. Serving is not a performance. Instead, cultivating a servant’s heart begins with understanding our position before a holy God. Choosing the same attitude as Christ, we regard ourselves as vessels filled by God, seeking His glory, not ours. 

Written by JoAnne Stephens, Co-State Director of Arms of Love Foster Care